PSYCH 344 - Second Language Acquisition
Section: 001
Term: WN 2012
Subject: Psychology (PSYCH)
Department: LSA Psychology
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
LING 111 or 210.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This is an introductory course in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). How adults learn, or fail to learn, a second language is a fascinating question. It involves much of what we know about human cognition, psychology, and language. How best to help learners acquire a second language is an equally important educational issue. In addition to all of the factors which play a role in child language acquisition, SLA also involves effects of variation in second language educational, social and usage environments, ages of acquisition, levels of learner cognitive and brain development, motivation, and language transfer.

This survey course describes the development of Second Language Acquisition as a research discipline and then reviews current cognitive, linguistic, psychological, educational, and interactional perspectives. The relevance of all of these disciplines motivates the cross-listing of the course across the Departments of Linguistics, Psychology, and the English Language Institute, and one goal of the course is to learn from each others’ perspectives. Topics include the description of patterns of second language development and the degree to which there is consistency or variation across learners and languages, the question of modularity and the possibility of contributions of innate linguistic, cognitive, and functional universals, the degree to which language is learned and regularity emerges, connectionist and usage-based approaches to language acquisition, learning and instruction, critical periods and language acquisition, and sociocultural and sociolinguistic determinants.

There are two texts, the first a recent survey of different theoretical perspectives on SLA, the second which applies SLA research and its implications in classroom contexts. The course is a lecture / discussion format with 1 exam and an empirical project, undertaken in groups, which investigates one aspect of SLA. Students are expected to read before each class so to be ready to discuss each topic. There will be much opportunity for class discussion and participation.

Text and Readings
(Ordered at Michigan Book & Supply)

  1. Ortega, L. (2009). Understanding second language acquisition. London: Hodder Education. ISBN: 978-0-340-90559-3. Paperback
  2. Lightbown, P.M., & Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned. (Third ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0-19-442224-0. Paperback
  3. Electronic coursepack. Readings on the C-tools site.

PSYCH 344 - Second Language Acquisition
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780340905593
Understanding second language acquisition, Author: Lourdes Ortega., Publisher: Hodder Arnold 2007
ISBN: 0194422240
How languages are learned, Author: Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada., Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press 3. ed.,2. 2007
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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